The following is a release from Marshall County Sheriff Daniel A. Hargrave
My last update was in July this year. Since then we have moved forward to get bids for the jail so that we could get a more accurate number that we were dealing with. The architect and construction managers will have met on the 9th of September to give the Commissioners’ an accurate update and discuss plans.
I would anticipate a county wide meeting this fall at some point for the public to come and view the construction plans and ask questions about the facility. As has been stated before, the public is always welcome to come view the current facility and meet with you. Just call ahead to make an appointment and I will be glad to meet. I can answer any questions that they might have about the need for the expansion.
As I stated before, the current facility has become a liability issue due to the layout, causing safety concerns. After the fire in 2017, the jail was restored back to its prior state. The liability issues still remain a priority. The one thing that I felt needed to be addressed was the increase to 2 corrections officers on 24 hours a day, instead of one. That has been addressed and a jail administrator has been put into place. The addition would be in a pod system layout to minimize any safety concerns that we have now. I strongly encourage the public to come to our fall meeting and see what improvements will be made with the expansion.
The ability to house a few more inmates, preparing for the future and more importantly being able to classify inmates according to their crimes, mental status, and work release inmates. Mental health in jails across the country is becoming an important issue that has to be dealt with. We are currently unable to segregate more than a couple inmates if we have mental health issues. This is detrimental to jail being run effectively. Our ability to classify inmates when they come into our facility will allow a much-needed safer environment, and flow of inmates once they are incarcerated.
We currently to date have 15 inmates in our facility. This number will bounce around all throughout the year. We have to build a facility that will house what I feel is a target number of 40 or more. We have reached 30 inmates at numerous times before and have had to house outside our county. The current plans have the new expansion to house 46 inmates, which I feel is a safe number, and is also the number that the ground we have to work with allows. With that number it is also being able to classify the inmates, although we may not be full, it will allow us to move inmates around for their safety, depending on their classification, as well as the correction officer’s safety. We cannot afford to build the expansion any smaller, when it appears that we will actually increase in population. The prisons are currently full, and we anticipate that a certain amount of inmates will be spending more county jail time than in the past. Correction facilities are traditionally built for a 50-year life span. We are knocking on the door of that, and continuing to put ourselves in a liability issue
Walking female inmates outside to the upstairs cells after booking, blind spots, linear hallway, inability to put cameras in cells, walking inmates outside to court, stairwell in the inmate population, are numerous safety issues that we have to deal with, and we would be glad to discuss with the public during a walk trough of our current facility. We also will be holding a couple of dates this fall or winter for the public if they would like to come in and tour the facility on top of the reserved meetings.